Diabetes is a disease that affects about 16 million people in the United States, 5.4 million of whom are unaware that they even have the disease. Every day over 2000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed and an estimated 750,000 new cases are identified each year. Diabetes is the inability to manufacture or properly use insulin. This impairs the body’s ability to convert sugars, starches, and other foods into energy. The long-term effects of elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia) are damaging to the eyes, heart, feet, kidneys, nerves, and blood vessels.
Symptoms of Diabetes may include frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, fatigue, tingling or numbness of the feet or hands, unexplained weight loss, blurred vision, slow-to-heal wounds, and susceptibility to certain infections. People who have these symptoms and have not been tested for diabetes are putting themselves at risk and should see a physician.
Part of keeping your diabetes in control is testing your blood sugar often. Ask your doctor how often you should test and what your blood sugar levels should be. Early detection and proper treatment may prevent complications.
The socioeconomic costs of diabetes are staggering. The costs have been estimated at $98 billion annually, about $44 billion of which are direct costs from the disease with $54 billion indirectly related. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death by disease in the United States. Individuals with diabetes are two to four times as likely to experience heart disease and stroke.
The growth of the disease worldwide is especially alarming. The World Health Organization (WHO) expects the number of new diabetes cases to double in the next 25 years from 135 million to nearly 300 million. Much of this growth will occur in developing countries where aging, unhealthy diets, obesity and sedentary lifestyles will contribute to the onset of the disease.
While there is no cure for diabetes, there is effective treatment. With a proper diet, exercise, medical care, and careful management at home, a person with diabetes can prevent the most serious of the consequences and enjoy a long, full life.
Why Do People Get Diabetes?
No one knows why people develop diabetes, but once diagnosed, the disease is present for life. It is a hereditary disorder, and certain genetic indicators are known to increase the risk of developing diabetes. Type 1, previously known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or juvenile-onset diabetes, afflicts five to ten percent of diagnosed cases of diabetes. This type occurs most frequently in children and adolescents, and is caused by the inability of the pancreas to produce the insulin needed for survival. Type 2, previously called non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetes, affects the other 90-95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes, many of whom use oral medication or insulin to control the disease. The vast majority of those people (80 percent or more) are overweight; many of them obese, as obesity itself can cause insulin resistance.
Certain characteristics put people at a higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. These include:
African Americans are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes than the general population, with 25 percent of African Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 diagnosed with the disease.
Hispanic Americans are almost twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes, which affects 10 percent of that population group.
Native Americans are at a significantly increased risk for developing diabetes, and 12 percent of the population suffers from the disease. In some tribes, as many as 50 percent of its members have diabetes.
Of all the risk factors, weight is the most important, with more than 80 percent of diabetes sufferers classified as overweight.
Visit a Podiatrist
diabetes is a systemic disease affecting many different parts of the body,
ideal case management requires a team approach. The Podiatric Physician, as
an integral part of the treatment team, has documented success in the
prevention of amputations. The key to amputation prevention in diabetic
patients is early recognition and regular foot screenings, at least
annually, from a Podiatrist.
Ulceration is a common occurrence with the diabetic foot, and should be carefully treated and monitored by a podiatrist to avoid amputations. Poorly fitted shoes, or something as trivial as a stocking seam, can create a wound that may not be felt by a person with diabetes. Left unattended, such ulcers can quickly become infected and lead to more serious consequences. Your Podiatrist knows how to treat and prevent these wounds and can be an important factor in keeping your feet healthy and strong.
There are warning signs that you should be aware of so that they may be identified and called to the attention of a Podiatrist. They include:
If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, call today for an appointment.
HUNTINGTON FOOT & ANKLE CLINIC, INC.
2735 5th Ave Huntington, WV 25702
This Page Last Modified On Friday July 13, 2007
This website is for informational purposes only. Information found on this website should not be considered medical advice.